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Endure Like Jesus

Date: Aug. 22, 2010

Author: Gideon Kwon

1 Peter 2:13-3:7

Key Verse: 1 Peter 2:20-21

But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

Two weeks ago, through Dan’s message, we learned of our cornerstone, Jesus. We learned that when we make Jesus our foundation, we are not swayed by the storms of life. We also learned that we are God’s chosen people, a royal priesthood and a holy nation, and called to be his precious children. In today’s passage, Apostle Peter teaches us how we should live in society as the ones who have received God’s grace. So what does he say our attitude should be? He tells us in a word: submission. But this is a little strange. If we are chosen people, a royal priesthood, why should we submit? If we are a royal priesthood, it seems that we are in a high position with special privileges, then, why should we live a submissive life? Peter gives us the answer, Jesus.Jesus came as a king but he served and was afflicted, living a submissive life for his people. Through today’s passage, I pray that we may learn about Jesus and his enduring and submissive attitude. (pray)

Who does Peter tell us to submit to? He says that we should submit to many things. From this passage we find that he means, firstly, kings and governors, secondly, masters, and thirdly husbands and wives.

  1. I) Submit to King and governors

Take a look at verse 13. First, Peter says, “Submit yourselves to every authority instituted among men, whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.” The king during Peter’s time was the Roman emperor Nero. As you know, Nero was notorious for his wicked persecution of Christians. In the summer of 64, Rome suffered a terrible fire that burned for six days and seven nights consuming almost three quarters of the city. The people accused the Emperor Nero for the devastation claiming he set the fire for his own amusement. In order to deflect these accusations and appease the people, Nero laid blame for the fire on the Christians. The emperor ordered the arrest of a Christian who, under torture, accused others until the entire Christian populace was implicated and became fair game for retribution. As many of them that could be found were rounded up and put to death in the most horrific ways. The evil ways in which the victims were put to death included being covered with the hides of wild beasts, and bitten to death by dogs, or nailed to crosses, or set fire to, and when the day got dark they were burned to serve as the evening lights.

In the midst of this kind of persecution, Peter wrote this letter to remind the Christians who were scattered all over the regions, of God’s hope and to hold onto the gospel. Although Peter wanted to encourage them, he did not want them to cause riots against authority. Rather, he tells them to submit. From a normal perspective, this is unthinkable. How could they submit to such an evil king? Was Peter a secret Roman patriot or just a betrayer? No, he was an honest, hard working fisherman who didn't care about politics. Then why did Peter say this? Let’s look at v13a - “Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men.” Peter tells us to submit not just to the Roman government but every authority for the Lord’s sake. This is saying that to submit to the worldly authority is solely for God. How can this be? Let’s look at v15 -“For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.” When believers submit to the authorities, according to God’s will, we are able to live a righteous lifestyle so that non believers can not criticize and slander us because of our conduct. These kind of people ignore God’s word and reject the truth, therefore they are foolish. If we believe in God and yet ignore authority and break the rules, what would people say about us? They will use this example to criticize Christians and further deny God. And this will hinder the believers from preaching the gospel and non-believers from accepting it. Humanly we have the full right and freedom to resist and rebel against wrongful authority but in order to establish God’s kingdom, Peter urges us to submit. Jesus was not rebellious. You should all remember from Luke Chapter 20, what Jesus has said about this. The chief priests and teachers of the law questioned Jesus whether it would be right to pay taxes to Caesar or not. Jesus, in order not to hinder God’s work, tells them to accept the Roman authority and submit to them. And he says give God your heart. We must have the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus. He submitted to the rulers of his country, even though they were evil. He paid taxes and showed respect to the Roman officers. Jesus never had a rebellious spirit.

Apostle Peter, like Jesus, did not become a rebel to protect his fellow believers but instead, he gave his heart for the growth of God’s kingdom. In v16, it says “live like free men but do not use your freedom as a cover up for evil, live as servants of God.” When we become God’s servants, we can show proper respect to everyone, love the brotherhood of believers, fear God and honor the king.

Even in our time, we have many leaders; presidents, mayors and also governors. Sometimes their deeds are good, sometimes not. Like the last 2 former Illinois governors who are going to jail or the former 2 Korean presidents who are in jail. Many people complained about Bush’s administration and we cannot tell if Obama’s presidency is good or bad yet. The unemployment problem these days makes me want to blame the government. It gets worse when the government raises our taxes in order to maintain their budget to pay their expensive salaries.It’s hard to submit to authority like this. But in order to glorify God Peter urges us to submit.

Although it’s hard for me, I must pay more taxes and obey the law and be a model citizen. One problem I have is that I still have several traffic tickets to pay. Up to now, I didn’t have money to pay but the real problem is that I thought the government was too harsh on me so I did not want to submit. To make matters worse, my fines grew like a big belly. And it occurred to me that as a believer, I should not be in such an embarrassing state for I haven’t even paid my traffic tickets and here I am preaching the gospel. I repent for being stubborn and not wanting to submit and may God have mercy upon me so that I may pay my fines soon so that I may be an unashamed preacher of the gospel.

  1. II) Second, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect.

Let’s look at v18, "Slaves,Submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh.” In our days, we do not have slavery, but we still have a similar relationship between master and servant. Students serve their teacher; employees serve their employers and boss. Businessmen serve their clients. But at times we face difficulties serving people. For example, it is hard to serve our boss who treats us harsh and unfairly. How can you respect and submit to someone who treats you harsh and unfairly? Peter explains why; let’s read v19 “For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God." So, even if your boss is cruel or mean, respect them and do your best, because you are conscious of God. To be conscious of God means to trust him in all circumstances, even in unjust situations. This is commendable to God, because enduring suffering does not mean that we are weak. Only the strong can endure suffering. Only a person who gives up small things in order to gain great things can do it. More than anything, a person who has great faith in God can do this.

Let’s look at Jesus’ example that Peter gives in verse 21b, "because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps." Jesus suffered for us. And he became our example so that we know what to do when we face our own sufferings. How did Jesus suffer? Jesus was not a criminal, he was innocent. Pilate said this about Jesus: “I find no basis for a charge against this man.” (Lk 23:4) But Jesus was mocked, flogged near to death and was crucified on the cross. Even when he was on the cross, people continued to insult him saying, “…Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” (Mt 27:40)

But Jesus endured. Let’s look at v23 - "When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly." Jesus did not retaliate, did not threaten anyone but rather entrusted himself to God who judges justly. Why? V24 says "so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed." Jesus’ unjust suffering made us die to our sins and live for righteousness. Jesus was conscious of God and trusted fully in him, so he abandoned his rights, his pride and he embraced humiliation, in order to save us.

When we have faith in God, God can work in us and carry out his plan for us. Jesus is our example of fully trusting God in all circumstances. We should not look for suffering but if it is God’s will, we must be willing to go through it. Therefore, when we endure hardship for God, we can become true followers of Christ. If we continue to argue, retaliate and maintain our pride, we are not following Jesus’ example and cannot preach the gospel. I pray that we may all endure suffering for the Lord and reflect Jesus wherever we go.

When we look at how Jesus endured suffering for the work of salvation, it leads us to do the same within our church. Church is also a gathering of people where we can face many misunderstandings which lead to individual suffering. If we try to get even with those that hurt us, the church will only fall apart; therefore we must endure patiently and love one another. As the fall semester approaches, we must have this kind of attitude toward new students. We always pray that God may send many students, but if we are not ready to serve and receive suffering because of them, salvation work cannot be established. Just as Jesus willingly endured suffering for his salvation work, we must also be ready to receive insults and criticism while serving students. Our history shows that we have not been actively inviting students personally, are we not doing this because we want to avoid this kind of suffering? Are we avoiding rejection, insults and criticism and waiting for good and obedient people? If we avoid such suffering, then we cannot expect the great work of God among us. I pray that we may follow Jesus’ attitude and plant the gospel.

I am praying to feed one student this new semester. But I had no desire to suffer like Jesus while serving students. Like always, I was hoping for a person that would come every Sunday so that I could easily joke around and socialize with. Last year, in order to study the Bible with my Bible student, I prepared for Bible study for about 4 or 5 hours. Sometimes, I even had to cancel my appointments with professors, but the Bible student told me that he knew the passage very well already and he wanted something more challenging. I thought he did not accept the message deeply and that he was proud and I was sorry that I prepared for Bible Study for five hours. When he wanted to study for the SAT and to take a break from Bible study, I took this opportunity to stop contacting him. In this way, I didn’t want to suffer. Even though I didn’t have anyone else to study the Bible with still I didn’t want to go to campus and invite people because I was embarrassed of my limited English. Through today’s passage, I learned that enduring suffering for The Lord’s work is precious and commendable to God. If I want to participate in God’s work this semester, then I must be willing to suffer to do it. I repent that I did not want to suffer like Jesus, but through this passage, I learned that I was called to be like Him. I pray that I may actively share my faith and endure any suffering that comes through preaching the gospel.

III) Submission of husbands and wives

Chapter 3:1-7 talks about the relationship between a husband and wife. Let’s read v.1 “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.” The Apostle Peter says, “In the same way,” this means just as Jesus suffered unjustly, a wife should submit to her husbands even if he is unjust. V.5-6 mentions this repeatedly. The fact that the wife should submit to her husband is because God has established this order for the family. There can be no order in a family if a wife does not respect her husband. If there is no order in the family, even the children will disrespect their parents and will become confused and the husband, rather than seeing his wife as a wife, will see her as his enemy. When wives submit to their husbands, even if the husband is not a believer, he can be won over by her behavior and accept salvation in Jesus.

In V.3-4 Apostle Peter talks about women’s beauty. “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner-self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” In our inmost desire, men desire to be great, and women desire to be beautiful. However, a woman’s beauty does not come from adorning her hair or wearing gold jewelry and fine clothes. Of course, Peter does not mean outward looks are not important at all. He means that before God inner beauty is more precious than outward beauty. Especially, he says that a woman should have a gentle and quiet spirit. Such a woman has faith that keeps her at peace and keeps her from easily being shaken by those around her. A wife who is always irritable and often causes her husband to worry is not beautiful. But a wife who is not easily shaken by problems and helps her husband by faith and becomes a blessing and encouragement to him.

In the Bible, Sarah is an exemplary figure. Let’s look at v.6. “like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear." Sarah called her husband master and submitted to him. Should wives call their husbands masters? That is a little strange. But from Sarah’s response we can see how much she respected and revered her husband. When Abraham was seventy-five years old, he suddenly told Sarah, “Sarah, I heard the voice of God telling us to leave our hometown and go to the land he will show us. Let’s hurry up to pack and leave.” But Sarah didn’t say, “Are you crazy? I can’t go. Go by yourself.” Instead, she trusted the God of Abraham and quietly packed her things and followed his will. Another time when Abraham was almost 100 years old, he ran into the house and said, “Sarah, we have three guests! Here is a fattened calf. Hurry up and make dinner!” But Sarah did not say, “Hey you old man, why are you always bringing guests? I can’t make dinner so quickly, I am 90 years old. I am tired and they’re your guests, you take care of them.” Instead, Sarah made a hearty meal and served sincerely. Indeed, Sarah was a submissive wife, a woman with a gentle and quiet spirit.

In IIT ministry there are many women like Sarah. I am thankful for their serving with a gentle and quiet spirit. All of our coworkers do God’s work and submit to their husbands without complaint. When times of trouble come, they are not shaken but with their faith they encourage their husbands. We pray that God may send more women coworkers like them for our ministry.

V7 talks about the attitude husbands should have toward their wives. "Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” Peter tells the husbands to be considerate of their wives. Just as wives submit to their husbands, husbands should understand and respect their wives. In those days, men thought they owned their wives and did not give them any rights. Thus, this statement was quite sensational. Why should the husband be considerate? Let’s look at v7b - "and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers." Wives are rightful heirs of the gracious gift of life but they are also very delicate like a glass. And because they are delicate, when their husbands are harsh to them, they easily break into pieces. This may cause them to disrespect their husbands; this is a disadvantage for husbands, they can no longer discuss matters with their wives and pray together.

In our ministry, it seems that the men have the good attitude described by Apostle Peter. I think I am lacking in this area. I am an average husband according to the Korean ministry standard. But American husbands cherish their spouses so much that I was conscience stricken. I have not treated my wife like a delicate glass. When my wife was having hard times, I did not try to understand her but instead yelled at her. Consequently, when I needed her prayers I could not receive them. Msn. Daniel told me to write this message with repentance since it seems like I am nice to every coworker but my wife. Truthfully, it was hard for me to prepare this message because of this. But I repent of my poor attitude toward my wife and I pray that I may see her as a delicate glass, who I can respect and love.

Through today’s passage, we learned that we must submit to the government, masters, and husbands or wives even it they are harsh to us. When we live a submissive life we can serve God and follow Jesus without hindering the work of God. We learned how Jesus endured suffering for the gospel and how a family can serve God with one heart. Jesus shows the good example of how to live a submissive life by enduring all unjust treatment and by suffering to serve God. I pray that we may have a submissive attitude and endure all suffering that comes by following Jesus. Especially as the semester starts, I pray that we may serve students with this attitude.

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Key Verse: 2:3

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